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Bell and Howell 431. I need to know if I can film a movie on this!


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#1 Brandon B

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 03:16 PM

Hello,
I want to make movies. Like Sam Raimi did with his 1980 movies like evil dead. or just a low budget, fun but good film looking movie. I want to make many of them:) So....I went on ebay a couple months ago and I found a camera for 5 bucks. I couldn't belive how cheap it was so I bought it and sure enough it was sent to my doorstep. So now I have it and it looks like it should work fine so I'm going to go buy batteries for it today.
But before I start going out to get batteries and then film from kodak or wherever i can score some....I need to know if this camera can even film still! I've read certain cameras like automatics(?) can't be filmed on anymore with the film stocks available now a days and there's even a list of the cameras that can't be filmed on anymore, but I can't find that list online yet.
My 5 dollar camera is a Bell and Howell Model 431 Autoload Super 8 camera. It has power zoon, slow motion(36 frames per second), a battery tester, and a remote control socket. Thats all the features. its a very basic camera i belive from the mid 1960's.
If I can use this for my first time EVER filming on Super 8 I will and I want anyone with any info and knowlege on this specific camera to reply with any advice. Thank you so much in advance


Brandon from michigan
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#2 Matthew Buick

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 06:02 PM

To be honest the lenses will probably won't be all that great, contrasty and possibly slightly murky sort of footage, possibly with a colour bias, but I may be wrong, I haven't personally owned that camera. It'll be solid enough mechanically, and fairly suitable for learning the ropes, but if you're to make a serious film or something then upgrading it would be strongly recommended.

You'll need a manual exposure mode these days, or at least an exposure shift. None of the stocks that the cameras automatic light meter was intended to read are still available new today. Kodachrome 40 was the last of these old stock to go (it did so in 2005), you can still buy Kodachrome second hand on eBay today, but it's become rather expensive as supply dwindles. Plus it can only be processed by Dwaynes of Kansas.

Super8wiki may hold some information on your camera. Hope all that helps! ;)
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 06:30 PM

Here's a little more gen on said camera I'd imagine it'll have everything on board you'll need to learn about Super 8 shooting, it's a real shame about the lack of 24fps shooting though.

Edited by Matthew Buick, 26 December 2008 - 06:33 PM.

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#4 Brandon B

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 07:20 PM

Ah, thanks for giving me a little info on the camera.
Let me get what you said straight tho...since they stopped making certain film stocks, I might not be able to use this camera to film with?
Because it doesn't have manual exposure?

Thats ok if so...I will just get a good camera to start with instead is so.

The link you sent me says auto/manual....im not sure if it means its both manual and auto or one of the two.

Edited by Brandon B, 26 December 2008 - 07:25 PM.

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#5 Matthew Buick

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 05:31 PM

It'll have both manual and automatic, so you'll be able to use any stock. Sorry for the confusion.
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#6 Nate Downes

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:13 AM

Ah, thanks for giving me a little info on the camera.
Let me get what you said straight tho...since they stopped making certain film stocks, I might not be able to use this camera to film with?
Because it doesn't have manual exposure?

Thats ok if so...I will just get a good camera to start with instead is so.

The link you sent me says auto/manual....im not sure if it means its both manual and auto or one of the two.

it has a manual override, which means you will be able to use any stock out there, but you will have to hand-meter it. You will likely spend more on your meter than your camera, but the meter will last you a lifetime.
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